Who says housewives are only meant to cook meals, raise kids and remain in the shadows of the breadwinner of the family. Even though Shilpa Datar lived a quiet life of monotony, she found her true calling at a later stage.
With motivation from Cherie Blair Foundation for Women Entrepreneurs, Datar has developed a psychometric test to assess a person’s character using the Indian concept of tridoshas and trigunas. She was recently conferred the Veda Brahma Award for Excellence in Innovation 2012 by AAPNA, USA and was invited to speak at Bank of America Merryl Lynch in London.
Wedlocked at 19 and not allowed to pursue higher education, this gritty housewife completed her PhD from University of Mysore. After doing an MA in Psychology, Shilpa worked with children with special needs. Dabbling with the idea of doing a PhD in dyslexia, she was inspired to come up with a reliable psychometric test, so that disability in children could be detected at an early stage.
“Western psychometric tests existed. But they were unfit to assess Indian minds. I did some research on the subject and spoke to Ayurvedic experts. I learnt that the panchamahaboothas govern the entire universe and everything within it. I took this concept and applied it to modern psychology,” she says.
“Money was one big problem that led to some missed opportunities on the way. A group of engineering students from Anna University offered to build me a Trans-cranial Magnetic Stimulation Machine, a technological advancement available in seven places across the world. But I had to let it go with no funds or a committed team,” Shilpa says.
It is very difficult for a woman with dreams to make it in this place, she says. “My husband was against me pursuing a masters degree. He said he’d like it better if I stayed at home and took care of the kids. I had to put up quite a fight to get out of my shell. And even after I got out there, people hardly ever took me seriously.
But I was lucky to have some mentors who guided me in the right path and gave me the freedom to follow my heart,” she adds.
For a cause
“The test that is available online right now is only for normal adults. I wish to work on it further and improvise it to suit special children,” Shilpa says. She has also administered the test for 400 internal security officers under the leadership of the then Additional Director General of Police Bipin Gopalkrishna.
When she approached multinational companies in the city with a proposal to use the test in the recruitment process, she was turned down. “The representatives of the MNCs stubbornly refused to consider an Indian psychometric test. It is ironic that we Indians have closed our minds to the wisdom of our ancient texts,” she rues.
The test is available at www.swayamassessment.com